1TB of of solid state storage on a 4Gbit fiber-channel connection

Just recently, we reported that Intel plans to integrated solid-state NAND flash technology into its next generation mobile platform dubbed Santa Rosa. In fact, after Santa Rosa, Intel will introduce a technology called Snowgrass, which will introduce NAND flash into the desktop segment. All of Intel's NAND platforms will be occuring in 2007.

A company called Texas Memory Systems has announced the largest solid state array with a staggering capacity of 1TB (other configurations exist). Called Tera-RamSan, the rack consists of an array of 9U servers connected together via 4Gbit fiber-channel. The Tera-RamSan is configured to act as a NAS device, linking directly to an Ethernet connection, or connect to an existing fiber-channel array.

Quick specifications:
  • Up to 1TB of storage
  • 3.2+ million I/O per second
  • 24GB/sec bandwidth
  • Less than 14 microseconds average access time
  • Includes integrated hard drives for backup
  • 4Gbit fiber-channel connection (2Gbit capable)
  • Supports point-to-point, arbitrated loop, and switched fabric topologies
  • Individual units configurable in RAID array
The Tera-RamSan comes equipped to handle complete blackouts with the use of internal hard drives matched to the capacity of the memory modules. During a power outage, the unit will copy the entire contents of its memory onto disk before shutting down approximately 1 hour after losing power. Since the Tera-RamSan uses DRAM rather than NAND-based memory, a battery-disk-based backup solution is necessary. As of currently, flash-based RAM is not quite fast enough for the applications for which the Tera-RamSan was designed for.

Unfortunately, all that DRAM requires 3.2kW during peak operation.  More information on the Tera-RamSan can be found here.  Don't expect to bring a few home any time soon unfortunately -- the average 1TB configuration costs in excess of $1M USD. 

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller
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